CHARLESTOWN - Although she doesn't officially begin her duties as principal of the Renaissance Academy-Edison Charter Schools until July, Jennifer MacFarland has already taken over the reins at the 870-student charter school.

Former Principal Angie Padrnos visited the school on Friday and is in the process of moving to New York after resigning from the academy this spring for another position with Edison Schools.

MacFarland will take over the duties at the for-profit charter school after serving as the Academy Director or Assistant Principal. She has been with the school, which now educates kindergartners through 12th-graders, since its inception four years ago.

"All the heartbreak from the beginning, which led to the joy at our record of excellence as an Edison Four Star School, was worth it," said MacFarland. "At the very beginning it was difficult and hard work to get the school up and running."

She said that her former job involved student discipline, while the new position will allow her to work with state reporting, student achievement and to work with Edison to continue to deliver a Four Star School.

"Part of the reason I was hired was to provide consistency of the expectations for students and staff achievements and compliance with the Edison design," she said.

The married mother of two is a resident of East Nantmeal Township. She has college degrees from Immaculata and the University of Delaware and obtained a principal certificate from Penn State.

This will be the first year that the academy graduates seniors.

"We've seen these kids grow from adolescents to young men and women," she said. "As a preparatory school we go through the process of submitting college applications and then receiving acceptances. It's exciting to reap the benefits of all our hard work."

MacFarland will be attending Edison's Leadership Development Academy for new principals and teacher training for two weeks in July.

"Although the summer is extremely busy, I'm looking forward to the kids returning on August 18," said the new leader, "since the kids are the reason that we're here.

"I'm looking forward to working with parents and students to continue the reputation for excellence that Angie Padrnos put in place."

The Renaissance Academy is a charter school which draws students from 18 school districts. The school is in session 200 days per year from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Students are offered two fine arts classes per school day. Subjects include classes in Drama, Dance, Art, Music Physical Education and Spanish.

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